The Sangli police on Saturday arrested a man in connection with the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl and said he had participated in a protest march, led by villagers, against the same crime.
The police suspect more people were involved in the crime.
The arrested man was from Malvali village of Paus tehsil in Sangli district, western Maharashtra. The girl is from the same village.
Police arrested him after taking statements of 114 people.
Sangli SP Dattatreya Shinde said police had strong evidence against the man. He will be produced in the court on Sunday.
On January 6, the body of the girl, a Class 8 student, was found in a sugarcane field.
She lived with her mother, sister and grandparents.
“On January 5, after attending a cultural programme at her school, she went home and asked her mother for a new dress.
“They fought over the issue and the girl left home around 6pm. Next day, the girl’s mother was informed that her daughter’s body was lying in the sugarcane field, barely half a kilometre away from their house,” a police officer had earlier said on condition of anonymity.
A post-mortem report revealed that girl was strangled after being raped. Villagers in Sangli district had observed bandh to protest the crime.
Last July, a 15-year-old girl was raped and murdered in Kopardi in Karjat tehsil of Ahmednagar district, sparking protests across the state.